This September, Literacy Together recognized the annual Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, hosted by the National Coalition for Literacy. This week exists to remind us all that reading, writing and basic math remain an elusive target for 43 million adults nationwide. This includes one in 10 adults in Buncombe County, which is enough people to fill the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville three times. These neighbors lack the literacy skills they need to get better jobs, help their children with homework, read instructions on medication bottles, read bus routes or participate fully in our community. We have a literacy crisis in our community, but our community is stepping up to change this.
Recently, Mountain Xpress published an article highlighting a recent pilot program that Literacy Together completed in partnership with Youth Transformed for Life to provide tutoring at its summer camp [“It Takes a Village: Community-based Summer Programs Battle Academic Inequality,” Sept. 1]. Literacy Together trained local youths, ages 16-20, as interns for an eight-week program to be tutors and matched these tutors with 46 local children. The program was not only successful at improving literacy test scores of the children but also was meaningful to the tutors and the relationships that they developed. We are grateful for our community partners, including TD Bank, WNC Bridge Foundation, Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Western North Carolina Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. These community partners quickly responded to our funding needs and allowed this program to make a life-changing difference in many local youths and children.
In recognition of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, Literacy Together would like to ask you to join forces with us to accomplish our mission to transform lives and communities through literacy. We are currently providing tutoring services to adults and children, sending more than 4,500 books every single month to local children through our partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and training nonnative English speakers to read and write. We are currently looking for more volunteer tutors to be trained by Literacy Together and matched with local students.
I invite you to learn more about how you can help with the literacy crisis by visiting the Literacy Together website at Lit-Together.org or calling our office at 828-254-3442. Even if you have visited our website before, I encourage you to check the website again to see the life-changing programs that Literacy Together has been providing during the pandemic. You can also learn more about our recent camp and the other ways we are tacking this literacy crisis head-on. I truly believe that we can make a difference in our community and change lives together through the power of literacy.
— Marilyn Lindsley Cortes
board chair, Literacy Together